Fraud allegations are untrue, says protector

2011-07-06 13:20

Reported allegations of fraud and corruption against Public Protector Thuli Madonsela were untrue, she said at a media briefing in Pretoria today.

“The allegations against me are baseless,” she said after The Star reported that sources, which it did not name, said police planned to “pounce” on her in connection with three-year-old alleged illegal activities which took place when she was a commissioner of the SA Law Reform Commission (SALRC).

Reportedly, the allegations are that while she was a full-time commissioner at the SALRC, companies wholly owned by her did work for and were paid R1.8 million by the commission, an independent statutory body linked to the department of justice.

“The allegations against me are baseless, without truth, and malicious. I have never been accused of fraud or corruption.”

She said there was not a document in the department of justice or the commission in which she is accused of fraud and corruption.

However, she did own a company called Waweth, a policy research company which she managed between 2003 and 2007. She joined the commission on May 7, 2007.

Her company had three contracts with the commission – one for R30 000 related to books, another for R7 000 also related to books and a third related to the design of a cover for a book written with a person in the department of justice. The latter contract was for R3 000.

There might be another worth R6 000 which an associate did.

She said the commission knew about her work and she had asked her office to find any other documents relating to audits for her.

“But the question of R1.8 million is malicious and completely baseless. The department of justice was aware of the fact that I owned Waweth.”

She said she asked that her salary at the commission be paid into the company account for tax purposes.

She believes this “has no impediment”, but there is a dispute over this.

“It is unfortunate that this report seems to be trying to distract me and my office.”

Police said earlier they would not comment on the newspaper report.

“We are not going to be drawn into comments attributed to faceless people,” said Colonel Vishnu Naidoo.

“We don’t confirm or deny investigations against people unless they have appeared in court.”

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